Caymans Post

A world within. A state apart.
Friday, Feb 23, 2024

Calls for an outright ban on TikTok are not straightforward, despite data concerns

Calls for an outright ban on TikTok are not straightforward, despite data concerns

The Information Commissioner's Office has ruled that TikTok "failed to carry out adequate checks to identify and remove underage children from its platform" - with more than a million under-13s in the UK using the app.
Lying about how old you are is a childhood rite of passage, but in the social media era it comes around earlier than ever.

The minimum age for most social media users is 13. But for younger children, registering an account on a smartphone is as simple as adjusting the year of birth and pressing "okay".

With no attempt at age verification, that's a far less nerve-wracking deception than fibbing to an usher to get into a 15-rated movie.

And judging by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) finding against TikTok, it comes with almost zero chance of detection.

Abuse of terms and conditions

The ICO found that around 1.4 million under-13s in the UK are routinely using the platform, and that TikTok was insufficiently concerned at this industrial abuse of its terms and conditions.

The company "failed to carry out adequate checks to identify and remove underage children from its platform", the ICO found, and as a consequence failed to get parental consent to use their data - a legal condition for using the personal information of under-13s.

That in turn raised the possibility that under-13s had been tracked and profiled, and potentially delivered "harmful, inappropriate content".

These findings may have come as more of a surprise to parents than to their children, among whom TikTok remains a sensation but has long ceased to be just a cheerful forum for cute dance moves.

Harmful content

The potentially harmful content to which the ICO refers will have been generated by the TikTok algorithm, meaning anyone aged 13 and over may see it too, but without any risk of sanction.

There are concerns because the TikTok algorithm is particularly effective at delivering more of what users' behaviour suggests they want, whether it's good for them or not.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said: "Because TikTok uses algorithms to show users new content, it's easy for young people to come across inappropriate or upsetting videos."

TikTok contests the findings and says it "invests heavily" to police its age restrictions, but the ICO judgment addresses one of the central concerns about social media; that a combination of its inherent form and specific content is harmful to mental health.

The same concerns have been raised about other platforms, which have faced similar questions over the use and retention of user data and the monitoring of content.

How TikTok's ownership plays a role

What makes TikTok different is its ownership. The first non-American social media behemoth happens to be controlled by a Chinese company, ByteDance, and that's put it in the crosshairs of Western governments as well as regulators.

Hours before the ICO published its findings, Australia became the latest state to ban the TikTok app from government devices, joining the United States, Canada, European Union and the UK.

These governments contend that allowing TikTok to "scrape" data from government devices - a process for which users have to give permission - poses a security risk because it could end up in the hands of the Chinese authorities.

In the US it has become a corporate frontline for rising tension with Beijing.

A congressional committee last month queued up to hammer its chief executive Shou Zi Chew, who denied being subject to state influence and said the data of its estimated 150 million American users will move to US servers within a US company.

That is unlikely to end the concern about national security or personal safety, but calls for an outright ban are not straightforward.

Millions of users, young and not so young, use and enjoy TikTok by choice every day. Banning a platform will not come without protest, even if others would surely fill the scrolling space.

And those users include at least one cabinet member, Grant Shapps, the Ministry of Defence, and Number 10 Downing Street, all of which have active TikTok accounts - suggesting they value access to an audience they doubt is safe.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Caymans Post
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×